We’re with Caroline: A Military Spouse Navigates Her Career Overseas With the Help of the USO Transition Program

By Kayla Clark

When it comes to military life, an often overlooked and challenging aspect is the impact it has on the careers of military spouses. MilSpouses regularly face circumstances that often lead them to make sacrifices in their professional lives. Frequent relocations and unpredictable deployments can create a challenge for those in pursuit of long-term career goals. But with the help of the USO, military spouses can find a source of support and guidance in their professional lives with the USO Transition Program.

Caroline, a military spouse, recently moved overseas to Germany to be alongside her husband, a service member in the U.S. military. | Photo credit Courtesy Photo

Meet Caroline: a sweet, tenacious, hard-working and determined military spouse. Caroline and her husband are currently deployed overseas in Vilseck, Germany, with their dog, Koda. Upon the exciting news of their upcoming permanent change of station overseas, Caroline, like many military spouses, had to also experience the heartbreak and disappointment of having to leave a job that she loved.

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music back in 2021, Caroline finished school and had obtained a great opportunity for an internship in logistics with the Department of Defense at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) headquarters in Fort Eustis, Virginia. What began as a professional opportunity soon grew to a fully-developed career with the organization. The couple spent three years doing long-distance while Caroline furthered her career – working from an intern to a Logistics Management Specialist.

Her husband’s orders to Germany were both an opportunity for excitement – to finally be physically together with her spouse after three years of long distance – but also nervousness, as Caroline was embarking into the unknown and giving up an organization and career that she had invested so much time in, and which had also been incredibly supportive of her.

Photo credit Courtesy Photo

Caroline and her husband, a service member in the U.S. military.

Upon arriving in Germany, Caroline soon found herself in uncharted territory professionally. She had been with the same organization for the last few years, so beginning to look for employment again, and potentially in another field, was daunting. Job opportunities for military spouses overseas are extremely limited and competitive to obtain. However, Caroline was determined to continue with her professional career, and after doing some research, discovered the USO Transition Program.

She immediately scheduled a meeting with a USO Transition Specialist, where they discussed her specific goals and needs, and came up with a customized Action Plan of resources and tasks just for her.

“I had no idea military spouses have such great assistance and programs [such as the USO Transition Program] at their fingertips,” Caroline said. “My meeting with my Transition Specialist was so helpful; a lot was discussed! I learned about certifications spouses can get for free, employment tips, LinkedIn premium, interview tips, etc.

After that initial meeting, Caroline put in the work. She followed up on the resources and tasks in her Action Plan and had frequent check-in calls with her Transition Specialist. She participated in the USO Military Virtual Programming (MVP) event, “Mastering LinkedIn” with Michael Quinn, and updated her LinkedIn profile with the recommendations given. She also reflected upon her professional journey and prepared for interview scenarios. Within weeks, Caroline had successfully interviewed for multiple organizations and had received two job offers. She made the ultimate decision to move forward with one that would challenge her, inspire others and allow her to support the military community there in Vilseck.

Photo credit USO Photo

The USO Transition Program is for both service members and military spouses, offering all members of the military community the opportunity to further their education and careers.

The USO Transition Program is a free program for service members and military spouses that connects individuals with a USO Transition Specialist, who assesses their needs and builds them a customized Action Plan with resources to meet those goals focused on employment, education, mentoring, VA benefits and financial readiness. In addition, they provide ongoing support, accountability and encouragement. Military spouses can gain free resume support, interview prep tools, certifications and get connected to mentors in their field – and they can do this as many times as they’d like throughout their service as a military spouse.

When asked what advice Caroline would give to other military spouses, especially those overseas, her response was nothing but enthusiastic and optimistic: “Find your people, keep yourself busy, learn something new and don’t give up if you’re looking for a job!” she said.

“It is so important to have a good support system of friends and family no matter how far away they are. It is also so important to take care of yourself and find things to keep you busy, especially when your service member is away on deployments or training.”

The USO Transition Program is here for military spouses like Caroline throughout their entire time as a military spouse – overseas, back at home, during deployments and so much more – we’re with them every step of the way.

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